Special Correspondent

Relief work in full swing; 18,000 marooned persons evacuated: DM

  • 70 villages in Nanpara and Mahsi tehsils cut off
  • 2 lakh displaced; water commission warning `ignored'
  • Barabanki district also in grip of floods
  • Three engineers of Irrigation Department suspended

    LUCKNOW: With floodwaters entering 10 more villages of Nanpara tehsil on Wednesday, the situation in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh continued to be grim for the third successive day. The turbulent Ghaghra had wrought havoc as around 70 villages in Nanpara and Mahsi tehsils were cut off from the rest of the region.

    Four persons have perished in the floods which have displaced about 2 lakh people.

    The flood fury in the district began on August 28 at around 5 p.m. when waters of the Ghaghra swept across 25 villages in Nanpara following a breach in the Belha Bahrauli embankment on the river. Before the river breached the embankment, it had already annexed around a dozen villages in the north of Nanpara along the Indo-Nepal border. Bahraich District Magistrate Shankar Lal Agarwal told The Hindu that the river's flow had increased following heavy rainfall in its catchment area in Nepal which led the Nepalese authorities to release water from the dams.

    Later, the floodwaters consumed another 20 to 25 villages in Mahsi tehsil of the distrct. "Relief work is in full swing and around 18,000 marooned persons have been evacuated by the rescue and relief teams," Mr. Agarwal said.

    Reports said the district administration had been forewarned of the impending danger on account of the rising water level in the turbulent river by the Central Water Commission but no effort was made to plug the breach in the Belha Bahrauli embankment. The Bahraich District Magistrate said that these were flash floods caused by the water gushing out from the breach.

    But the fury of the Ghaghra was not limited to Bahraich district. Downstream, the river devastated about three-dozen villages in Sirauli Ghauspur, Ramnagar, Ram Sanehi Ghat and Rudauli tehsils of the neighbouring Barabanki district.

    A population of about a lakh has been affected by the floods in Barabanki district. PAC jawans and army boats have been pressed into service to rescue the marooned villagers.

    Official sources said that 18 relief camps have been set up in the flood affected districts and arrangements made for delivery of food packets to the marooned persons, besides the availability of rations and medicines to the flood hit in the relief and rehabilitation camps.

    Meanwhile, three engineers of the Irrigation Department who were entrusted with the task of keeping a watch on the Belha Bahrauli embankment have been suspended. The suspension orders were passed by State Principal Secretary (Irrigation) Mohinder Singh.